This article attempts to link soft drink consumption to obesity, diabetes, “other harmful health conditions,” and even “lost productivity,” citing costs in the tens of millions for San Francisco – all from a single source of calories. Science simply does not support these sensationalist claims.
Obesity, for instance, results from overall calories consumed, inactivity, age, stress, medicines, and genetics, to name a few. Diabetes and other chronic conditions are also the result of myriad factors – not uniquely beverage consumption. And productivity? Really? That’s quite a leap. Sounds like grasping at straws in an attempt to build a case for taxing sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco. And the reality is, targeting soda with a tax won’t change behaviors and improve health, as evidenced by real world examples and numerous studies: http://bit.ly/mmmpt.
The fact is targeting soda with a tax won’t reduce obesity in any measurable way. In fact, a study from the Yale School of Public Health shows just the opposite: http://bit.ly/mmmpt. What can help reduce obesity in America? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) incentives rather than restrictions are a more beneficial approach to promote healthy lifestyles. The AND position paper states that targeting specific nutrients or foods can cause consumer confusion and that the overall diet is the most important focus to healthy eating: http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672%…. We completely agree with this assessment and approach.
Proposed taxes on beverages have been defeated repeatedly, including recent examples in El Monte and Richmond. Why? Because the facts make clear that levying new taxes on soft drinks will take a toll on consumers’ wallets, and hurt local businesses too. There’s also ample evidence that such a policy won’t help health. For example, Arkansas and West Virginia experimented with excise taxes on soft drinks; yet, these states continue to rank among the most obese in our nation: http://bit.ly/mmmpt. Additionally, studies show reduced calorie intake from soft drinks would actually cause people to consume more calories from other sources, particularly those high in fat and sodium: http://ajae.oxfordjournals.org/. These are among the many reasons beverage tax proposals have been voted down in the past, and why these plans should be too. - Maureen at the American Beverage Association
For a number of important reasons, similar beverage tax proposals have been voted down repeatedly, including in Richmond, El Monte and the State Senate. While obesity and diabetes are certainly serious issues, the notion that taxing a single source of calories will help health is Pollyannaish and not at all rooted in science. Diverse risk factors from inactivity and overall diet to genetics play a role in these complex health conditions – not uniquely beverage consumption. What’s more, studies and living examples of states that have attempted such taxes prove they do not positively impact health: http://bit.ly/mmmpt. What can help? As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics points out, incentives rather than restrictions are a more beneficial approach to promote healthy lifestyles. We agree. - Maureen at the American Beverage Association
Instead of focusing on what really matters—things like education, jobs, the economy—politicians would rather pass laws and regulations limiting what people can and can’t buy at the grocery store. Time and again, voters have defeated proposed taxes on beverages, including recent examples in El Monte and Richmond. So why pass taxes on soft drinks now? The facts show levying new taxes on soft drinks will adversely impact small businesses and take a toll on consumers’ wallets. Meanwhile, studies and examples of states that have tried this experiment demonstrate that excise taxes on soft drinks won’t help health; they may even have the opposite effect: http://bit.ly/mmmpt.
As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics points out, incentives rather than restrictions are a more beneficial approach to promote healthy lifestyles. We agree that this is a more productive approach than the misguided notion that taxing and banning specific calorie sources will reduce obesity.
Singling out diet beverages and low-calorie sweeteners as a unique contributor to diabetes and other complex conditions is neither productive, nor based in science. No single food, beverage or ingredient is a risk factor for diabetes, obesity, or metabolic syndrome. These are complex conditions with numerous and diverse root causes – including genetics, inactivity, overall diet, and so forth. When it comes to low-calorie sweeteners specifically, these ingredients have been extensively studied and reviewed over decades – and have repeatedly proven to be safe and effective tool for weight management. Given this body of science, regulatory agencies and leading health organizations approve these sweeteners.- Maureen at American Beverage Association
Singling out diet beverages as the culprit driving complex conditions ranging from obesity to diabetes is not at all rooted in science; nor are these types of assertions productive. The reality is these conditions result from the interplay of many risk factors (i.e., genetics, inactivity, overall diet, etc.). The fact is low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed ingredients in the food supply today. They are safe and an effective tool in weight loss and weight management, according to decades of scientific research and regulatory agencies around the globe. Therefore, consumers should have every confidence in consuming diet beverages. - Maureen at American Beverage Association
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